August 14, 2019
After losing three straight series — and replacing hitting coach John Mallee with former manager Charlie Manuel — the Phillies bounced back with a series-opening win over the Cubs on Monday night. That's the good news.
The bad news is that prior to their victory against Chicago, the Phillies (61-58) were in fourth place in their own division, a division many predicted them to win at the start of the season. The win moved them into a tie with the Mets for third place. More than that, they remain two full games out of the second National League wild card spot with 43 games to play.
They aren't out of it completely, but they'll need to start winning some series — and have the other teams in the wild card race start losing some — if they hope to gain any ground.
Not helping their cause is the fact that it now appears Jake Arrieta's season is over. Arrieta had been battling bone spurs in his right elbow, and was hoping to make it through the season, but after his struggles against the Giants on Sunday night, a game in which he said he couldn't even use his breaking pitches effectively, the Phillies decided to place the veteran starter on the injured list. And it's looking like he'll have corrective surgery soon. [More on that soon...]
In the meantime, the Phillies continued to slide down the power rankings this week, dropping multiple spots on nearly every list. Here's a look at the latest...
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|14 (-1)||The Nats, Brewers, Cardinals and Phillies aren’t doing enough to establish themselves as great teams. All year, they’ve shown flashes of being good, but they’ll need to go on a run if they’re going to the challenge the Dodgers and Braves for a chance to be an elite NL team.|
|13 (-3)||And now the Mets leapfrog them.|
|13 (-3)||While Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper could finish the season 1-2 in the NL in walks, it is fair to wonder what happened to once-patient second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who entered the season with a 10% career walk rate. Last season, Hernandez drew free passes in 13.4% of his plate appearances, and only seven big leaguers drew more walks. This year, Hernandez might not reach half of his 95 walks from 2018. The Phillies need him to lead off, but that is going poorly because Hernandez is swinging at so many non-strikes. A return to patience would really aid the struggling lineup.|
|16 (-2)||On June 8, the Phillies won and moved to 10 games over .500 with a two-game lead in the NL East. They've gone 23-31 since then and it feels like this mediocrity (if it's even to that level) is what we're gonna see the rest of the way.|
[NOTE: Some of these rankings may have come out a day or two ago, and may not be taking the most recent game(s) into account.]